The magic of water flows through the essence of life

But the lack of it can cause a myriad of problems

There is no limit to water intake for a healthy life

Sandhya Govind
Auckland, March 30, 2022

Water is one of the most essential nutrients necessary for the survival of humans.

Indian Physicist and Nobel laureate Sir C V Raman wrote an essay, aptly titled ‘Water-The Elixir of Life,’ in which he emphasised the importance of water, and explained how men have been searching in vain for the elixir of life without realising that the true elixir is simply water, easily available to everyone.

Water is indeed a very precious commodity that has been valued and celebrated across various religions and cultures all over the world for its life-giving and life-sustaining properties.

Water, Water everywhere…

Water makes up 60-75% of a person’s body weight depending on their size, age and sex. In his article ‘The Chemical Composition of The Adult Human Body and its Bearing on the Biochemistry of Growth,’ in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, HH  Mitchell states that the brain and heart consist of 73% water; the lungs, 83%; the skin, 64%; the muscles and kidneys, 79%; and the bones, 31%.

Water is an essential nutrient that acts as an important building block in cell creation, and functions within each cell in the body to transport nutrients and get rid of waste. Besides this, every system in the body needs water to function effectively.

In the musculoskeletal system, water is found in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints and cushions the ends of bones, thereby reducing friction when we move our joints.

Infographics from United States Geographic Survey

Water protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues of the nervous system by acting as a kind of shock absorber. It helps the brain’s cells get the electrical energy they need to perform optimally, and also helps in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters that help the brain cells communicate with each other. Water also plays a role in carrying nutrients to the brain and clearing out toxins and waste that can interfere with brain function.

A digestive solution

In the digestive system, water makes up saliva, which is involved in the moistening and breakdown of the foods we eat. It helps in the absorption of nutrients and helps the body convert food into energy. Water also helps ease bowel movements and prevent constipation. The liver depends on water to work efficiently.

Water also helps the body excrete wastes through urination and perspiration. The kidneys are able to function more efficiently when they have enough water supply. Insufficient water results in the kidneys expending more energy to get rid of wastes and this could cause stress on the kidneys resulting in their tissues wearing out faster. Being well-hydrated also prevents the development of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.

When it comes to the circulatory system, water constitutes 92% of the plasma in blood and helps the blood carry nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues that need it. It is also essential in maintaining blood volume.

Sandhya Govind

Good hydration helps the cardiovascular system by helping the heart pump blood through the blood vessels more easily, putting less pressure on the heart. Therefore, water plays an important role in regulating blood pressure

Water moistens oxygen for breathing. When suffering from viral respiratory infections, proper hydration helps the skin and mucous cell membrane act as a barrier to prevent germs from entering the body.  It also decreases nasal irritation while coughing or sneezing.

Water can also regulate body temperature through sweat production and respiration. Finally, being well hydrated causes a marked improvement in both our physical and mental performance by increasing strength, stamina as well as cognitive function.

The determining factors

The amount of water a person needs depends on numerous factors – age, sex, climatic conditions, clothing worn, amount of physical activity, exercise intensity and duration.

People suffering from certain medical conditions may need to have more, or less water depending on their condition. Ultimately, water must be consumed to replace the amount lost each day during basic activities.

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and the New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend that a healthy adult male should drink about 2.6 L of liquids a day (about 10 cups) while a healthy adult female should drink about 2.1 L of liquids a day (about 8 cups).

Though drinking plain water is the best way to remain hydrated – it is usually readily available and has zero calories – our daily liquid intake need not necessarily come exclusively from that source. Our intake can also include beverages such as sparkling and flavoured waters, fruit and vegetable juices, coconut water, tea, coffee, milk and soups.

Infographics from United States Geographic Survey

Ideal state of hydration

However, it would be better to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like colas and other aerated and sweetened juices, energy drinks and vitamin waters when trying to stay hydrated, as the excessive sugar content in them can harm our health in multiple ways.

Another good way of getting a portion of our daily liquid intake is by eating fruits and vegetables that have high water content. According to the article ‘Water, Hydration and Health’ in the August 2010 edition of the Nutrition Reviews Journal, fruits and vegetables that contain more than 90% water include cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery and spinach. Fruits and vegetables that contain between 80 – 89% water include apples, grapes, oranges, pears, pineapple, carrots and cooked broccoli. Fruits and vegetables that contain between 70% and 79% water include bananas, avocados and baked potatoes.  Soft cheeses like cottage cheese and ricotta also contain between 70% and 79% water.

The main indicator that the body is not getting enough water is thirst. It is important not to wait until you are thirsty to drink water, as feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth may indicate that you are already slightly dehydrated.

Graphic from Indo-Indians

Another good way to check your hydration level is by checking the colour of your urine. In a well-hydrated person, urine should be plentiful and colourless or pale yellow in colour, unless you are taking supplements or certain medications in which case, the urine will remain darker for several hours after taking the medication. Otherwise, darker coloured urine usually indicates that the body needs more fluid.

We cannot ignore the importance of water to our health and wellbeing. Though people have been known to survive without food for weeks, on average, a person can only survive for about three days without water, depending on the temperature and the environment. Therefore, let us all remember to drink water and other healthy fluids at regularly spaced intervals throughout the day to optimise our physical and mental performance and remain healthy.

Sandhya Govind is a qualified and trained Naturopath and runs the ‘Sandhya’s Naturopathy Clinic,’ an integrated Natural Medicine facility, which helps people rediscover optimal health, radiance and vitality naturally. Email: sandhyanaturopathy@gmail.com; The above article should be read for general information purposes only and not taken as individual advice. Please always consult your GP or other authorised persons or agencies for personal advice. Indian Newslink and Sandhya Govind absolve themselves of all responsibility or liability in this connection.

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